5 – Being Jobless, I Couldn’t Resist Despite Feeling Suspicious
I walked alongside Milla, the vampire.
Unsurprisingly, her beauty attracted the eyes of many along the road.
Despite having an enormously greater level of exposure to the world compared to her, not a single person noticed me. You’d think the Black Sorcerer-like robe would at least catch a little bit of attention.
I’m just not flashy enough. That’s also partly why Alba shunned me.
「Excuse me, Lem.」
I responded in a way that didn’t reveal my nervousness.
「In case unsavory rumors start spreading because of you walking next to a vampire, maybe we should put a little distance between ourselves…?」
Milla spoke with a sad voice in consideration for me.
While it may have been different hundreds of years ago, nowadays there is hardly any discrimination towards those not of the human race.
But adventurers and monsters are essentially enemies in the business field. They prefer not to interact with each other any more than what is considered necessary. In towns with dungeons, facilities are often split in terms of accommodating adventurers or monsters.
She wasn’t thinking about the idea of a human with a vampire, but rather an adventurer being with one.
「Oh, I’ll be fine. In fact, it’s you that I’m more worried about. They might think you have bad taste in men.」
After widely opening her eyes, she pressed her hands to her mouth to contain her giggling.
「You really are a kind person. Are you sure you don’t mind?」
Milla looked so cute with her upturned eyes that I ended up getting stunned for a moment.
Is this actually possible? How could such a perfect person exist? The world isn’t fair at all. Well, I don’t mind such unfairness if it means that girls like her can exist.
That’s just how attractive her expression was.
「Y-Yeah, I’m sure.」
Flashing a smile, Milla hopped half a step closer to me.
Her golden hair caught the light as it danced in the air.
「Even if I’m this close?」
Don’t let yourself get the wrong idea, Lem. You don’t even know if she’s actually a real fan of yours yet.
It’s hard to imagine anyone looking up to a Black Sorcerer of all people.
「Oh, gosh… my face is getting red. I’ve met the person I’ve always looked to and they’re being so kind to me. This is like a dream.」
She spoke while pinching at her cheeks.
「Ow. So this isn’t a dream.」
「Yeah, this is reality.」
「I’m glad to hear you say that, too.」
「Really…? I’d imagine someone as grand as you would have all kinds of girls throwing themselves at you, no?」
What kind of person does this girl think I am?
It was unlikely that she knew that I had trained my Black Magic to be close to the level of Black Sorcery, but she talked as if she felt I was in a position deserving of more respect.
Was she trying to say that I was just as good as the rest of my party members when I was in the world’s #4 party?
So she felt that it was wrong of me to get treated as a deadweight?
「Haha, that’s not true at all.」
「Don’t be so modest. There are only three Black Sorcerers in the top 100 parties, and you’re the only one in the top 10. Besides, the only reason your party is clearing floors in the world’s most difficult dungeon, the Demon King Castle, at record-breaking speeds is because of your Black Magic. That Hero Fenix was only able to take down that floor boss in one strike because you had weakened all the enemies in the area. How could those fools even think of kicking out such a high-level Black Sorcerer… But thanks to that, we-」
「…?! H-Haha… I mean, that’s what my friend told me.」
Milla spoke with her eyes darting about.
I see. Her friend, huh? That makes sense. Milla would never talk down on a Hero’s party while letting out such a malicious aura!
I forcibly convinced myself. Yeah, that had to be what was going on.
「O-Oh, your friend? If you ever see that friend again, do you think you could deliver my thanks? Just knowing that there’s someone out there that thinks so highly of me gives me a lot of motivation.」
I still thought of Fenix as my best friend, so I didn’t want to talk bad of him, but I still felt somewhat happy hearing someone say that the decision to kick me out from the party was a mistake.
I wasn’t used to being praised.
The other four were always showered with praise, making any compliments towards me feel like a miracle.
Milla nodded her head.
「A-Anyway, we got a little off track there, but… do you really not have a significant other or anything?」
「…No, I don’t.」
「Would that have anything to do with the negative view society has towards Black Sorcerers?」
Society often saw Black Sorcerers as gloomy, unsociable, or petty. It was truly a sad thing. What in the world did Black Sorcerers do to them?
All they’re doing is throwing out status afflictions from a distance, aren’t they?
「Who can say? It’s not like I’m a particular interesting person in the first place, anyway.」
She looked a little annoyed at my response. Her cheeks were moderately puffed up.
「The ability to make the people around you smile or have a way with words definitely is a desirable trait, but it’s not a requirement to be considered attractive. I think kind people are attractive. For example, people who stop a criminal even though they lost their job and let someone else take credit for it on top of that. I think people who act solely because they believe it is the right thing to do are the true heroes.」
I had suddenly stopped in my tracks, which led Milla to look at me with a curious look.
I didn’t want to be looked at right now.
I moved my hands to cover my face.
「I’m sorry, did I say something rude just now?」
Milla was getting a little flustered.
「Not at all. It’s the opposite, in fact.」
I was unsure of what to say as she tilted her head in confusion.
「W-Well, when I was little, I dreamed of becoming a Hero.」
「I’d imagine that’s not a very uncommon dream for a child.」
Milla responded with a curious face to me suddenly talking about my past.
「That’s true, but even after becoming a Black Sorcerer, I still wanted to become a Hero. I didn’t get the Job I wanted, but I still didn’t give up. It was like I was stubborn over becoming a hero with my pure willpower alone.」
But no one would call a Black Sorcerer a hero. They aren’t alike in any way at all.
That’s why Milla’s words made a direct hit to my heart’s weak spot.
The words that nobody had ever told me for 10 years.
You’re going to catch me off guard if you say something like that all of a sudden, you know?
I felt tears forming in my eyes.
I did my best to hold them back.
「Thank you. I won’t ever forget your words.」
「Huh? Um… I… You’re talking about the thing I said about heroes, right? I’m glad to have been of help, but… I want to put more emphasis on what I said about you being a kind and amazing person… so…」
「You don’t have to be so considerate. I’m confident in my lack of attractiveness.」
「…Are you doing that on purpose?」
Milla pouted in dissatisfaction again.
It was obvious I was running away.
I couldn’t help it. Milla was a very attractive woman, but not even an hour had passed since I had met her.
If I was a man capable of keeping up with this momentum, then I might as well be considered a veteran.
Plus I was a complete beginner at this kind of thing, so I was a bit scared.
I’m not scared of dragons, though. It’s just that I thought I should be more careful in how I deal with women.
「By the way, Milla.」
I abruptly changed the topic.
Milla still stared at me with a resenting look in her eyes, but she eventually let out a sigh.
「Yes, what is it, Lem?」
「I thought we’d be stopping at a cafe or something for the cup of tea, but we’ve been walking for a while now.」
「There’s a specific place I’d like to recommend you to.」
「I see. Do you know the name of the place? I’ve come to this place quite often before.」
We were close to the Demon King Castle. Probably just a coincidence, though.
「It’s a place that adventurers don’t often visit.」
「Oh, you mean the places on the Demi-Human side? I wonder if it’d be okay for me to go to a place like that.」
Since this was a town that had a dungeon, there were accommodations for adventurers and monsters all over the place.
The street in front of the Demon King Castle was the adventurer territory, and the street facing the employee-only back entrance was the monster territory.
I’ve never been to a monster-focused store.
The pub I was at when my party chased me out was of course a place in the adventurer territory.
「Yes, it’s over here.」
She nonchalantly held out her hand to me.
Oh no… I hope my hands aren’t sweaty. I’d hate it if she thought if it was disgusting or anything.
She then ended up grabbing my hand faster than I could even see her hand move, but that must’ve just been an illusion.
It felt like she was gripping onto me so that I couldn’t escape, but that was probably just my misunderstanding.
「Wait, we just passed by the last shop… Milla, we’re going to end up in the Demon King Castle if we keep going down here.」
We eventually reached the back entrance of the Demon King Castle.
It felt like we had just passed some strict security, but it also looked as if Milla had some kind of employee identification on her.
The monsters we passed by all stopped in their tracks and corrected their posture. Some of them even seemed to refuse to look at Milla and instead turned their gaze to the ground, but it was probably some kind of joke between them.
We touched a Recording Stone with a teleportation feature installed in it, most likely meant for staff, and the next moment we were teleported to a small room.
It was more like a narrow dressing room, to be more precise.
And just like a dressing room, there were curtains that separated the room from the outside.
It was a bit cramped with the two of us in here.
「The only thing left I could possibly guess is that this is some kind of hidden room-themed cafe, Milla.」
After gently letting go of my hand, she showed me a smile that was more bewitching than anything I had shown me before.
「Fufufu, you truly are a fascinating person. You came with me knowing where we were headed to from the very start.」
Adventurers and monsters were enemies in the business world.
If a vampire was introducing to me a job, it was of course far from the realm of scouting me for a party.
「Well, considering that I’m unemployed, I thought I might as well.」
「What a waste. A Black Sorcerer like you deserves a position more matching your prestige.」
「Like the Big Four or something?」
「How about Staff Officer?」
That was pretty much equivalent to being the Demon King’s aide.
「…I don’t think a human should be in a position like that.」
I’m still someone aiming to clear the Demon King Castle, after all.
「Now now, let’s talk about that with the Demon King over some tea.」
Milla was not the Demon King.
The other staff members appeared to fear her, but she was definitely a Floor Boss.
She was the master of the stratum that we had cleared time and time again.
Monsters typically wear outfits that hide their faces, which is why I didn’t realize it right away.
Before she opened the curtains, she drew her lips to my ears.
「My respect and feelings towards you were not a lie. I didn’t bring you here with the intention of fooling you. Please don’t hold any grudges over me for this.」
Her breath brushed against my eardrums.
A sweet tingle ran up my spine.
Her lips drew back.
When our eyes met, Milla let out a tickling laugh.
「Now then, the Demon King is waiting for us.」
I wonder what an interview for getting recruited into the Demon King Army is like.
I’m wearing my casual clothes today, I wonder if that’d be okay.